Exploding Head Syndrome-Symptoms, Treatment, Causes


What exactly is exploding head syndrome? This is considered to be a “parasomnia” – which involves unwanted events happening during sleep and can include:

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• Sleep walking

• Night terrors

• Myoclonic jerks

Exploding head syndrome consists of a loud noise that is imagined suddenly right before falling asleep. Some recall it as a violent explosion that goes off in the head and can also happen if woken up in the night.

Many have described it in the following ways:

• Painless loud bang

• Clash of cymbals

• Bomb exploding

Symptoms of Exploding Head Syndrome

This syndrome was originally described in 1920 by Robert Armstrong-Jones, a Welsh psychiatrist. It was first described as an exploding sensation in the head and it would wake patients from their sleep. It has been described in many ways including:

• Loud explosion

• Slamming door

• Gunshot

• Waves against rocks

• Roar

• Voices that are loud

• Ringing noise

• Bang on a tin tray

• Buzzing sensation

During this occurrence, individuals may feel a rush or kick of adrenaline going thru their head often multiple times – increasing heart rate and leading to the feeling of anxiety. Since this occurs in the state between awake and asleep individuals with repeated attacks may begin to fear resting or sleeping. This leads to the advance of a sleep disorder like insomnia.

This condition is painless which is unlike the other painful head syndrome.

Causes of Exploding Head Syndrome

The cause of this disorder is unknown and in the majority of cases it gets confused with other types of headaches. Parents, who have children suffering from this condition, confuse it with migraine or other syndrome or trauma. Medical professionals associate it with anxiety, stress or fatigue. It could be caused by sudden movement of the middle ear or the Eustachian tube. It also could be caused by a seizure which is minor and occurs in the temporal lobes where the cells of the nerve for hearing are located.

This disorder can happen any time and the number of attacks may vary. Often it also can happen in clusters. Individuals over the age of fifty (50) are most prone to experience this syndrome and women seem to experience it more than men. This disorder has been reported in children as young as 10.

Most medical researchers believe that this disorder is linked to extreme fatigue or stress in the majority of individuals. But what actually causes the sensation is still not known.

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Treatment for Exploding Head Syndrome

There have been great disputes in the medical community about how to treat this type of health condition. In those cases where the sleep is rarely disrupted or the individual is not alarmed much, then many believe no treatment is needed.

Those who want the symptoms to go away have found the medication clomipramine has helped in treating the symptoms. Clomipramine is an antidepressant of the tricyclic class and is often used in treating several disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder as well as enuresis.

Any individual with repeat occurrences needs to check it out with their physician to see if it is linked with any other disorders that the individuals might suffer from such as stress, inadequate sleep, or anxiety.

If stress is causing this disorder then it is often better to relax with yoga or hot water baths before going to sleep.

Please note exploding head syndrome does not actually cause the head to explode.

Exploding Head Syndrome Pictures

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